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Yeah, MPQ. It’s pretty obscure; you’ve probably never heard of it…

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by deer, Oct 27, 2020.

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  1. deer
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    deer Dark Stone Golem

    130
    258
    146
    Oct 27, 2020
    Female
    Oddville
    6:45 PM
    cervid
    Bishop
    124
    Oddjobs
    [​IMG]
    Frisii [GM]: Hello there
    capreolina: are yall just surprised ppl actually run mpq
    Frisii: Keep going lmao
    Frisii: Well, a bit
    Frisii: xD
    Wyndham [GM]: i remember the struggle
    Wyndham: but mpq is fun
    Pictured: A casual GM visitation during one of my MPQ runs.

    MPQ (short for “Magatia Party Quest”, a.k.a. “Romeo & Juliet Party Quest”) is a party quest (in the style of KPQ, LPQ, & OPQ) taking place in Magatia that requires:
    • A party of exactly 4 players. (4~4 players)
    • All party members to be in the level range 71~85. (Early third job)
    • At least one (1) of the 4 party members to be a mage with maxed Teleport. (≥1 mage(s))
    • At least one (1) of the 4 party members to be capable of attaining ≥120% JUMP, and/or that has the Recoil Shot skill. (≥120% JUMP)
    Despite being the primary PQ in its level range (71~85, which does fully overlap with the 55~100 level range of PPQ, but PPQ’s EXP is then lacklustre for those of a high enough level to be third job), and despite having a MapleTip dedicated to it, MPQ is the subject of some neglect, hence this post. If you know me in-game (as “cervid”, “capreolina”, “cervine”, and/or “hydropotina”), then you know that I spend basically all of my time PQing… MPQ, in particular, is special to me because it is one of my favorite PQs, and because of its position as the “last” (again, ignoring that PPQ does technically go all the way to level 100) PQ in a relatively unbroken line of PQs from level 10 to level 85. MPQ is unique in contrast to its predecessors like KPQ and OPQ because it is genuinely rather challenging for most parties that are eligible to complete it:
    • The mobs have very high HP and defenses.
    • Completing the PQ correctly, in its entirety — and in a reasonable timeframe — requires a not-insignificant amount of specialized knowledge and teamwork.
    • The boss fight (particularly against Angry Franken Lloyd, or “Angy Franky”, as I prefer to call him) is undoubtably more challenging than that in any of the PQs at or before the level range of MPQ.
    The neglect that MPQ is subject to comes in two forms. On the one hand, it can be very (very) difficult to get parties going for MPQ, partly due to its stringent requirements (particularly, the absolute requirement for at least one (1) mage), and due to the lack of familiarity and/or interest that players have for MPQ. I have done a large (relatively speaking) number of MPQs myself, but this is, again, largely due to my dedication to almost exclusively PQing, and my willingness to wait in the lobb(y/ies) indefinitely for groups to materialize. On the other hand, MPQ is somewhat plagued by its implementation details; even if it is, at heart, a very nice PQ. This post seeks to, hopefully, ameliorate both of these issues at once, thus (at least somewhat) rehabilitating MPQ as a PQ in its own right.

    The suggestions in this post are divided between two categories: “design failures”, and “bugs”. Hopefully, this informal distinction is somewhat self-explanatory.


    Design failures

    The requirements to enter MPQ are too strict

    There are three of the requirements to enter MPQ that I want to talk about here, in descending order of importance:

    MPQ requires a party of exactly 4 players

    It seems that the party size requirement should be loosened from 4~4 to at least as wide as 3~4. None of the stages are really significantly different with 3 players (as opposed to 4), except for being somewhat slower. Loosening to 2~4 is also technically possible, but perhaps too loose; no comparable PQs allow parties smaller than 3, and completing MPQ with only 2 players is perhaps too challenging for anyone but the best duo, anyways.

    Expanding even further to 3~5 would be nice, but most likely infeasable due to the existence of stage 6.

    MPQ requires that all party members be in the level range 71~85

    This is not really a terrible requirement or anything, but I believe that it could reasonably be extended a bit, perhaps to something like 71~90 (compare: OPQ requires level 51~70), or perhaps even better, 71~100 (compare: PPQ also has a maximum level of 100). This helps to form groups and make the PQ generally more fruitful, although it does have the possible downside(?) of making MPQ parties just a tad bit stronger on average.

    MPQ requires that at least one member of the party is a mage

    Requiring a certain specific skillset (particularly Teleport!) is traditional in PQs; see LPQ and OPQ, for example. However, this particular requirement for MPQ makes it extremely difficult to get groups:
    • It’s already difficult enough to get 4 people to MPQ, as-is.
    • By third job, all 3 mage classes have gotten some killer skills that help them train efficiently (Poison Mist, Ice Strike, Holy Symbol/Shining Ray, &c.), so the experience-gaining aspect of MPQ is not necessarily as appealing to them.
    Furthermore, the stage that requires a mage (stage 4) is the same stage that requires someone who can attain ≥120% JUMP (and/or who has the Recoil Shot skill); the latter requirement is much more reasonable and actually interesting, since there are a number of ways that one can satisfy this requirement, and depending on how one satisfies it, some players will be more well-equipped to complete the JQ efficiently than others. The other JQ in stage 4 (the one that only mages can complete) is not nearly as interesting: you just have to be a mage, and you use your maxed Teleport to teleport around the grid.

    If this requirement were to be loosened, there is more than one way of loosening it:
    1. Make only one of the two JQs absolutely required, and make the other one grant bonus EXP. The number of passes that need to be collected could be kept constant by allowing players to turn in 2 clipboards for bonus EXP, or 1 clipboard and 2 passes for normal EXP.
    2. Require either one of two things to complete the stage:
      1. Both clipboards.
      2. Just 1 clipboard, and n passes, where you choose some fixed n such that n > 2.
      No bonus EXP is involved here, but having a mage makes the stage easier/quicker to clear.
    3. Only require one JQ to clear the stage, but award no special reward for completing both JQs.
    …and probably also some other methods that I’ve not thought of.

    Having both a “Juliet” side and a “Romeo” side is unnecessarily harmful

    Having the PQ split between two sides has the effect of:
    • Making it more difficult to form parties, because there is no single map and no single NPC that players can congregate around to form parties (unlike other PQs).
    • Making it pointlessly more difficult to obtain the main rewards for the PQ.
    The reality is that starting the PQ, from either side, is the exact same PQ. Yes, a few names here and there are swapped, but after all, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, no? Even the “plot” is the same, with the names swapped, which I suppose is technically a plot hole…?

    Anyways, there are a few different ways of collapsing the PQ into a single, unified location/starting-point:
    1. Keep both sides’ maps intact, but simply disallow players from starting the PQ from one of the sides. The NPC on the unusable side would prompt players to go to the other side if they want to MPQ.
    2. Completely trash one side (e.g. by disabling the portal that leads to it, or making the portal on both sides lead to the same map).
    3. Make both sides award the same color of marble.
    4. Implement a portal that takes players back and forth between the two sides.
    5. Make both sides award the same color of marble, and implement a portal that takes players back and forth between the two sides.
    Not all of these solutions actually solve all of the problems equally well. For example, (3.) only solves the problem of the PQ rewards, not the problem of congregating and forming parties. Option (2.) is the most thorough.

    Rocks of Wisdom are too scarce and, more importantly, too unreliable

    Scarcity

    It is possible to get a Rock of Wisdom as the end reward for successfully completing MPQ. However, it is so rare, that getting all of your Rocks of Wisdom from the “Yulete’s Reward” quest is very common. This is not, in itself, a problem; however, getting the Rocks of Wisdom by turning in marbles to Yulete is a bit impractical. Assuming that you want to use all 3 slots on your Horus’ Eye, you need 80 marbles (i.e. 80 successful MPQs):
    • 50 marbles to get a Horus’ Eye.
    • And 10 marbles per Rock of Wisdom, times 3, is 30 more marbles.
    Now, on my woodman (STR archer), I went from level 71 to level 86 (i.e. almost the entirety of the MPQ level range) on experience from MPQ alone. By the end of it, I had enough marbles for a Horus’ Eye and one (1) Rock of Wisdom; the Rock of Wisdom failed, but we’ll get to that later. I technically had a little more than 70 marbles in total, but my left-over marbles were mixed in color such that I couldn’t obtain a second Rock of Wisdom (this is addressed above). So, as of this writing, I am wearing a Horus’ Eye with 2 slots and zero (0) scroll successes.

    It is, of course, possible to simply kill yourself a sufficient number of times (assuming that you aren’t a permabeginner!) and do enough extra MPQs for no experience reward that you get all of the Rocks of Wisdom needed to scroll your Horus’ Eye all the way. But, considering that I was two rocks short of scrolling to completion after grinding MPQ through its entire level range (something that extremely few people would do, i.e. something I only did due to my dedication to PQing), the current scheme seems a bit unreasonable.

    I’m not really trying to suggest that the rate at which Rocks of Wisdom are awarded from the PQ be buffed (although that could help), but rather, perhaps the number of marbles required for each reward (the Horus’ Eye and the Rocks of Wisdom) be tweaked to make it more viable to grind MPQ for what is supposedly its main item reward (similar to Broken Glasses for LPQ, Squishy Shoes for KPQ, &c.).

    Unreliability

    Rocks of Wisdom are 60% scrolls. Why they have a success probability of 60%, instead of the obvious choice of 100%, is presumably due to the evil tendencies latent within Necksawn themselves. Thankfully, MapleLegends has the chance to fix this design failure by buffing their success rate to 100%. Grinding literally dozens of MPQs (each of which is considerably more difficult than, and takes significantly longer than, an OPQ run) only to have your Rock(s) of Wisdom fail on the only Horus’ Eye that you have access to, is disappointing, to say the least.

    It is already possible (21.6% probability, assuming that you manage to get your hands on 3 Rocks of Wisdom) to get 100% successful outcomes, and thus a perfect (+3) Horus’ Eye with the following stats:
    • STR: 3
    • DEX: 3
    • INT: 3
    • LUK: 3
    • HP: 210
    • MP: 210
    • WDEF: 60
    • MDEF: 60
    • AVOID: 14
    • SLOTS: 0
    This is really the only way to be competitive with the Silver Deputy Star. The perfect Horus’ Eye compares to the clean Silver Deputy Star as follows:

    Pros:
    • More HP & MP (210 > 100).
    • Somewhat more WDEF & MDEF (60 > 35).
    • Gives significant AVOID (14 > 0).
    Cons:
    • Gives 2 fewer of each stat, viz. STR, DEX, INT, and LUK (3 < 5).
    • Requires a minimum level of 70, which is significantly higher than the minimum level of 50 on the Silver Deputy Star.
    • Is untradeable, and thus must be obtained by actually doing all 80 MPQs yourself, and cannot be sold once it is outgrown (i.e. replaced by a Silver Deputy Star, a Horntail Necklace, a Mark of Naricain, &c.).
    As you can see, a perfect Horus’ Eye has some decent defensive advantages over a Silver Deputy Star — which is great — but its downsides tend to convince players to avoid it entirely (even assuming that they could get a perfect one!). The idea here is not to buff the Horus’ Eye, nor to buff the effect of a successful Rock of Wisdom — although those could be nice, if done well — but rather, to buff the success rate of the Rock of Wisdom from 60% to 100%, thus making a perfect Horus’ Eye somewhat attainable.

    As a side note, it could also be feasible to make the Horus’ Eye and/or the Rock of Wisdom tradeable. However, this is now getting into more deeply economic effects, so I don’t want to talk about it here.

    The Neo Huroids in stage 4 have an annoying drop rate for passes

    Personally, I’ve never really been bothered by the drop rate in this stage, but I have scarcely found an MPQ party who did not complain about it. So, for their collective sake, this section is here.

    Stage 4 requires gathering at least 4 passes from the Neo Huroids in the map (which are, of course, buffed Neo Huroids with way more HP and defenses than ordinary ones). Each Neo Huroid has some fixed probability of dropping a pass, so you are forced to farm them until you get sufficiently lucky. If you get lucky, this is no problem. If not… well, it’s at least tedious enough that this is most players’ least favorite stage (yes, even more hated than stage 6).

    Besides simply buffing the drop rate, one possible way of ameliorating this issue is implementing something similar to DotA 2’s so-called “pseudo-random distribution” (not to be confused with the unrelated notion of pseudorandomness). This “simulates” a sequence of Bernoulli trials, but actually makes a trial’s “success” more likely in proportion to the length of the “failure streak” (unbroken sequence of failures, which may have length zero or more) preceding that particular trial. To compensate, trials with relatively short failure streaks preceding them have a lower probability of success than the nominal success rate. This is tantamount to reifying the gambler’s fallacy.

    Bugs

    The transition from stage 4 to stage 5 often crashes the game

    This is a bug that requires a workaround (a workaround that, I might add, often does not work) to mitigate the impact that it has on MPQ runs. The workaround is as follows:
    • All party members must know not to go through the portal from stage 4 to stage 5, even when stage 4 is cleared.
    • When stage 4 is cleared, the party must collectively decide on exactly one (1) player among them that will serve as a sort of “sacrifice”. If this player is the leader of the party, then they must pass the leadership (at least temporarily) to one of the other party members.
    • The sacrificial player enters the portal from stage 4 to stage 5, while everyone else remains in stage 4.
    • The sacrificial player clicks on the “Yulete” NPC (or, if they are not playing on a high enough resolution, they may have to walk forward just enough to get Yulete within their vision) and goes through the dialogue.
    • The sacrificial player then walks forward until the “ambush” is sprung, causing Yulete to disappear, an NPC chat (with Yulete) to be forced on the sacrificial player, and a horde of mobs to be spawned, all at once. This results in one of two outcomes:
      • The good outcome: The sacrificial player goes through the dialogue, and then informs their party members through party chat that the coast is clear (usually by saying “c” or “d”). The rest of the party members can now enter stage 5 and complete it as normal.
      • The bad outcome: The sacrificial player’s client instantly crashes. Their party members can potentially still complete the PQ, depending on the situation.
    It is not at all uncommon for at least one party member to crash as a result of this transition. I suspect (and this is just a hunch) that the crash has something to do with the forced NPC chat that occurs when the “ambush” is sprung. So it may(?) be possible to fix this bug by getting rid of the forced NPC chat entirely, and simply replacing it with a message that shows up in chat.

    The beakers in stage 3 sporadically fail to register Suspicious Liquids that are placed on them

    Sometimes, after throwing 7 or 8 Suspicious Liquids on top of one of the beakers in stage 3, the beaker will pick up a few of them and then mysteriously stop (thus simply leaking liquid and undoing the work that was done to fill it). There is, apparently, no trigger for this occurring, so reproducing this bug may prove somewhat painful.

    When this happens, the standard procedure is to get all party members to work together to move all of the Suspicious Liquids away from the affected beaker, and then to re-place them back on (and add a few more to counteract the leaking that has occurred). This takes even longer than you might think, because it typically takes a while to definitively tell whether or not the beaker is actually bugged, and because beakers are one-of-a-kind items that a given player can only possess 0~1 of at any given time.

    Using the Teleport skill during stage 6 leads to incorrect behavior

    The Teleport skill (along with other mobility skills like Flash Jump, Recoil Shot, Haste, Thrust, &c.) has obvious utility during stage 6, where mobility is key to solving the puzzle efficiently. However, using Teleport and then testing (pressing the up-arrow key on) the portal on any of the platforms will result on the player getting sent to the bottom as if they picked the wrong platform, even if they picked the correct platform.

    This only seems to happen within some time after Teleport is used, so if you wait sufficiently long after the skill is used, it typically will not produce the bug. There is also no indication of what is going on, so it is very common for mages (at least, those unaware of the bug) to get “stuck” in this stage because it seems that all of the platforms on a given level are “wrong”.

    Parties that have one or more White Knights and one or more Fire/Poison Mages are prone to suffer from an instakill bug

    I’m not lying when I say that I have lost a not-insignificant quantity of EXP and Safety Charms due to this bug, before realizing what was going on. For some reason(!?), mobs in MPQ that are simultaneously affected by Threaten’s status effect, and by the poison effect of Poison Mist (and/or possibly the poison effect of Poison Breath; I’m not sure), deal incredibly large amounts of damage in a single hit, enough to kill even a White Knight… not to mention other, more squishy classes.

    The workaround here is typically to have any White Knights unbind Threaten from their keybindings, for the duration of MPQ.

    Angry Franken Lloyd sometimes instakills players(?)

    This one is a bit of a weird one, as I’m not entirely sure of the cause (unlike the Threaten + poison instakill bug). It seems that when Angy Franky uses his boxing-glove attack (in which, double-doors open up his torso and a bright red boxing glove is shot out towards the player(s)), this causes a “1/1” (reducing HP and MP to exactly 1 and 1, respectively) attack to occur at least some of the time(?). Mostly, this is not fatal (provided that you heal swiftly enough), as it is just a normal 1/1 attack. However, it seems(?) that either (or both) of the following are true:
    • Angy Franky’s 1/1 attack does not always grant the victim iframes (invincibility frames).
    • Angy Franky’s summoned minions (Reinforced Iron Mutae & Reinforced Mithril Mutae) can, perhaps under some race condition, hit players “through” their iframes.
    The result is that getting hit by Angy Franky’s 1/1 attack while intersecting (or nearly intersecting) the hitbox of one of his minions often proves fatal, with no chance of surviving by HP potions/Heal.

    Thankfully, this bug is quite rare (although I have died to it once, and have seen some 2 or so other players die to it).
     
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